Rugged Reviews

Fun2Play – Magic Duels

by Jack Napier on August 11, 2015

Magic is one game really close to my heart. I used to collect tons of these cards and i think i can find most of them in some old box in my storeroom. But this is not about bragging rights, but more about the new game published by Wizards of the Coast  and developed by Stainless Games, named Magic Duels.

A game that I awaited with much interest, the hype behind the title was all to real, and let’s face it, 2015 was not a really good year for MTGDuels of the Planeswalkers was an utter disappointment. So Magic Duels promised a lot of things, that for new and old players, only delivered partially! But there is hope!

They can patch and fix most of the problems, but this is a huge downside for the game, most of the reviews on Steam now are mixed. Also, let’s not forget that the game is a free to play title, so WotC needs to make some money. But the method that they chose is a bit jumbled, to say the least.

The PROs

First things first! The game is free, and you can play it as it is without spending a penny, but this doesn’t guarantee you the best deck ever. You will need to grind your way to a good deck. This is not something that a player is not used to, but there is a catch! The game is made really easy for new players to pick up, something that i want to applaud the studio for.

Magic Duels takes a page from the book of Hearthstone, that copied a page from MTG’s book, coming full circle so to speak. Probably this is why the game went free to play, the success of Hearthstone had been a huge influence on the franchise, I suspect. But, it brought back some other modes that where left in the last installment of the game. So it’s safe to say that we have two sensational good news. You know, for us long time fans of the franchise.

Two-Headed Giant is a mode that I really liked at the moment of its introduction. Just to see it gone in the last game. Now, it’s back, and in full swing, this game mode being tied in to the currency of the game, so playing it now is even more enticing. This two v two mode is pretty fun, pining two player teams face to face in a match, forcing them to come up with really good team strategies to defeat their opponents. And now, with the new cards you can mix and match more cards in these types of attacks.

The gold store, at least for my taste, is a bit pricey, but you get the option to get gold playing the game, with no limited game time. So no stamina bars that force you to play only a few matches. Now you get to earn gold from game activities, playing the campaign, the versus modes and various other daily quests.

The quest system is nothing to sneeze at. Being daily goals that you need to complete, such as, win two matches with a certain deck type. This means that you need to build decks, that, this time around are fun to customize and deck building is fun. You get to mix and match the new cards, and you can get some really good results. Not to mention that MTG, after a while, finally allows you to use Planeswalker card types.  And for the new players, you guys are in for a treat. I feel this is the best tutorial in the game from its early beginnings. On top of that, the tutorial is not forced on older players, so no more moments when you get to make one more click.

Back to the story mode, I really like the fact that it goes back to the lore and the worlds of MTG, for once taking me back to that world of warlocks and elfs, ents and magical genies. Sadly, only for a while.

The CONs

When it comes to story, I knew that was something that didn’t gel with me, not knowing if it was story related, or the story in combination with another element. This is until I was browsing the Steam page of the game for some info, a user review popped into my eye. So I will let him do the explaining, not from laziness, but for giving him the credit he deserves.  So Lucifer, ( by the way, rugged nickname bro) take it away.

“One of the biggest issues I have with the game however is that in the story mode it specifically shows you different cards that certain characters will you against you (such as Alhemmerat using fog banks to protect himself to use mill cards on you) However can you use some of these cards to help amplify your decks or give you different styles of decks? Nope, in fact the cards are nowhere to be seen, which makes about as much since to me as this game has in general sometimes. Why bother programming the cards to use for a SINGLE campaign level, to then never be touched again, and then just decide to not let players use them? Want to use Jace’s mill deck or cards? Or how about the Eldrazi cards that are used in Nissa’s levels? Whelp sorry, even though we planned them and they’re here, you can’t have them.”

Sadly, this is not the only problem with the game. There is the small problem of the advantage of buying of gold to get booster packs. You need to be either uncommonly lucky to get only really good cards, or particularly grindy. To get gold to compete with another player that has an already good deck that he essentially bought. I got six booster packs and opened them, and the drop rate is decent, but don’t expect miracles. Moderate to good I will say, but, it’s in the cons section because when you get shit cards, dude, you get a booster pack full of shit cards. I don’t know if it was just my luck, but i kinda think that the algorithm is not yet completed when it comes to randomizing the cards in the booster pack you will open.

Some players accused disconnect problems, but in my case i got none of them, but if one kid cried wolf, that doesn’t mean that all kids cry wolf, so I think there is a problem with the low latency internet connection.  But, if you get disconnected, you’re gonna be replaced with a good for nothing artificial intelligent. And before someone corrects me on my wording, I spell it like that because what we have in video games now, is not artificial intelligence. Is just a long list of “what ifs” that responds to the player. Automated system implemented in the game. That, and only that. So this artificial intelligent, will replace you in the game, giving you the option to reconnect to your game. But if the artificial intelligent wreaks havoc in your deck, and you enter the game just after he screwed up your strategy, you are powerless to do anything, and you end up just dying a slow and agonizing death, while your opponent laughs like an evil maniac.  So that’s one gem.

Other minor technical problems is the mouse acceleration in the game, that made me question how the developer understands physics, but if they implemented a controller scheme is understandable. But deactivate the mouse acceleration when you let the player select the mouse and keyboard option you dolts! Not all of us like seeing the mouse cursor floating like a pothead on the screen!

Magic Verdict

I really got mixed feeling on this game dear readers. I really do. I want to hate it, but I can’t. I hate it because I like it, and I liked it because I hate it. It’s kinda like a fine expensive wine that you get, but you know in your heart that you, brother, are gonna be a broke ass son of a bitch. So over all, I’d say the game deserves a Fun to Play verdict.

Sure, I had the game by the balls a few time, but, fuck it (no homo, it’s just contextual), I like the son of a bitch. Plus they can do some axe surgery later on, to patch out some flaws. Cut the guy some slack, he’s just a few weeks old. Maybe in a few months we will get finally a free to play MTG game that we like so much that we hate. The only downside is the advantage that players who buy gold will get, early on. You will get your manly ass kicked, but when you rise, o brother, you will rise like a true man ready to face the MTG world with the deck to rival even the biggest whale in free to play history. So fear not young Planeswalkers. The road to the best deck is hard, you will have to grind a bit… too much I think, but you can get there…

…But if they decide to put in the game some cockamamie pay to win booster pack system that gets premium players access to exclusive cards, I swear to the all mighty Pixel God, I will bury my axe so deep in the producer’s collective ass, they will actually taste the mithril.

And if any of you gets offended by the axe to the ass joke, grow some fucking chest hair and beard you sissy, (or barrow some) this site is for people who face life, not cry about it. 


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